The origins and history of mustard The “mustum ardens” date back to antiquity. The term appears for the first time in a French text of 1288, alluding to the “must” of wine made “ardent”, that is to say spicy, with the addition of mustard seed flour, a mixture that made it possible to preserve an easily perishable product such as fruit for a long time. This culinary preparation Widespread especially in northern Italy and Tuscany, it is made with different ingredients, depending on the area of origin.
Mustard: a preparation made from preserves
of one or more types of fruit treated with sugar or honey, must or mustard. The main reason for the birth of mustard it was precisely the need to “give long life” to this fruit which would have been unavailable out of season. Even today, mustard remains one of the healthiest jar foods, able to survive without preservatives or colorings. Beyond the document that certifies the birth of the recipe at the end of the 13th century, in Italy the spread of mustard only became significant around the 17th century.
It is during this period that we find various testimonies of its consumption, in particular on the occasion of Christmas celebrations by peasant families in the north. Then, the must increasingly gave way to candied fruit, especially quince. Many believe that mustard derives its name and essence from mustard from beyond the Alps. In reality, the two products have nothing in common except the use of the same plant. French mustards are sauces made with vinegar, salt and black mustard seeds; the italian mustards instead, they are made with fruit, sugar, and mustard oil.
Mustard: description of a magnificent symphony of colors
The description of mustard is linked to particular regional preparations and recipes. In principle, it is presented as a preparation in which the individual fruit pieces are evident that maintain and enhance the original colors wrapped in sweet substances, such as syrups, cooked wine that guarantee perfect conservation.
In Italy, the types of mustard are:
- Vicenza mustard, made from quince pulp, which is obtained by cooking the pulp with 50% sugar by weight. Once the jam obtained has cooled, mustard essential oil is added, it is also used to make it with pears.
- Cremona mustard, mixture of candied fruits and syrup with a sugar percentage of 50-60%, with the addition of mustard essential oil. Usually cherries, pears, quinces, tangerines, figs, apricots, peaches are used.
- Mantovana mustard, made with sliced quinces or pears, used throughout the province for the preparation of pumpkin tortelli.
- Voghera mustard, mix of candied fruit and syrup; recipe already widespread among monks before 1397 to preserve fruit.
The term mustard is often a source of misunderstanding
because it is sometimes used, in reference to French mustard or English mustard, to define the best known condiment in Italy with mustard. Mustard from Cremona, Mantua and Veneto is often mustard and spicy (depending on the amount of mustard) but without mustard, while those from Carpi, Piedmont and southern Italy contain must but no mustard. Bolognese and Romagna mustard does not contain must or mustard but only fruit. The birth of mustard mustard (mustum ardens) would therefore date back to the Middle Ages or the Renaissance.
The Mostarda Festival takes place every year in Cremona
and it confirms itself as the perfect destination for gourmet and curious amateurs who will be able to taste this Lombard excellence through a wide selection of tourist proposals in the region. Mostarda, like nougat, has always been one of the emblematic products of Cremona, able to identify the city thanks to the traditions and history linked to it. Beyond the symbolic value, it is also worth highlighting the economic importance for the territory, where there are many industrial and craft activities that give life to this product of excellence.
“Roads of Mostarda”: a celebration of mustard and its origins
An opportunity to get to know the territory and its traditions through its food and wine culture. A culinary journey to inform, federate and educate through the parallelism between the historical birth and the current production, in order to make a scientific, cultural, social and informative contribution for the benefit of the development of the territory and the artisanal production of this gourmet product .
The mustard festival wants to be a date with gastronomic and oenological delights that are born from skilful hands that over time have been able to transmit secrets, traditions and inimitable recipes. Gastronomy and wine thus promote local products and the discovery of delicious flavors that go wonderfully with the discovery of places.
Mustard and its places: a tradition that accompanies the dishes of Cremonesity
Possible to visit mustard places through guided tours of historic homes and the beauties of the region. Somewhat interesting initiative also mustard 8.0: recipes of yesterday, today and tomorrow on social networks with food bloggers and chefs illustrating various ways to combine and taste mustardfrom old traditional recipes, moving our gaze to the future with innovative and richly contaminated proposals.
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